Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday, August 07, 2018: What a string’s worth of niceness. ... TERMINAL UPDATE, HOLGATE :.

Having missed the bell to start the round, Yin-wo opted to ignore his unsportsmanlike opponent ... until his corner advised, "The round has started! Repeat ... the round has started."  

Shaolin fighter takes punches without going down


Does Jersey's "Stop for Pedestrians" law apply here? I mean, I'd be slamming on my brakes just for dash-cam purposes ...   

Snail crosses road


I'm not sold on this latest method for Heimliching toddlers ... 

Playing with a baby


Finally: Take me back to the beginning and remind me of the initial intent here ...  

Bathroom dancing fail


Tough time talking catch-and-release here...


Tuesday, August 07, 2018: What a string’s worth of niceness. Today, a decent south breeze coupled with enough sun to require SPF50 has left the beaches nicely filled for what is usually an off day of the tourist week.

Speedwalking to the beach for a quick NWS look-see of wave rip conditions, I couldn’t help but overhear a young gal broadcasting a two-way cellphone gab session. The female on the other end of the call was bemoaning the fact she was already back at college … unpacking. WTF?! Already? And it couldn’t be a school all that far away since she told me, I mean she told the LBI half of the call, that she’ll try to get down this weekend. Even when I went to an early-start school on Maui, I didn’t have to be there until August 22. Anyway, good luck and have a great school year for all those back at the grind so early.

I got a response to my mention of kingfish in the surf mix. “I got a few but they were all way to small to keep,” he emailed. I suspected that. Still, it’s fun to have something targetable.

By the by, during clear-water stints along the August beach, and before or after the lifeguard presence, throw on a mask, flippers and take a leisurely swim parallel to the beach. Thirty yards out is plenty enough. If you want some flotation assistance, use a bodyboard. With rays, kings, recent schoolie stripers, sharks and other also-swams (tog near rocks) to be seen, it makes for a fine look-about. Believe me, any sharks you move toward are utterly terrified of you, as you’ll see should you approach one. Gone in a flash, even if you wanted to get a GoPro pic of them. Cow-nosed rays, on the other buddy-buddy hand, will readily flap about in your vicinity. If you inch up above kingfish, you will see their nose-to-the-sand feeding habits. They are skittish, though.

TERMINAL UPDATE, HOLGATE : I’m hoping to continue a dialogue with Army Corps Keith Watson and Stockton’s Kimberly McKenna, to ascertain the final design of the proposed (possibly stalled) Holgate terminal groin.  I see no problem with a terminal groin, especially if the more elaborate design is used ... not that I factor into deciding things, short of maintaining media and public awareness. 

I want to offer a quick visual on the more elaborate design. It will first run straight out from the parking lot, perpendicular to the beach. Thereafter, for something like 200 feet eastward, it will angle a slight bit southward into the ocean. 

The groin will be put down in layers, using different gauges of rocks, beginning with smaller base stones. Geo-textiles will also be in the stacking mix.

The groin section from parking area to water’s edge – I believe that means the "water’s edge" after replenishment -- will be secured in place (to the south) by huge, uprightly standing steel sheets. This will likely create a 25-foot or so drop-off. The steel sheets will remain the main look when viewing the groin from the south. Hey, we have long had a very similar cliff-like drop-off there, as part of the Wooden Jetty support system. That somewhat historic drop-off had gaping stones and busted concrete awaiting below.  The new one should have sand below. 

The far end of the more advanced groin is where it gets interesting, fishing-wise. A somewhat anvil shape made of large Pennsylvania-granite capping stones will offer a “T” at the groin's tag end. It will be the widest point on the groin, by a long shot. Depending on how the longshore sand transport plays out after the groin is completed, there could be some sweet plugging territory on that far end. And, yes, that's why I'm gung-ho on a better groin. 

As to waveriding after the placing of an upper-end terminal groin, I’ll repeatedly repeat myself by saying that an amazing left will surely form just to its south. As to the less-popular left break further south, past the semi-submerged rocks, that will likely improve. It then comes down to erosion patterns settling into place south of the groin, possibly far south. Regardless, the power of wave refraction thereabout will always line  up the waves, whatever the groin scenario, including nothing at all being done to Wooden Jetty, the later allowing repeated replenishments to erode all the way down to the shoals off Little Egg Inlet. Hey, if the replenishment sand first placed on Holgate had been dyed red, there would be tons of red sand showing on those shoals. That’s how dynamic the longshore sand transport is from the Wooden Jetty southward.

Slamming on the how-it’s-made brakes, the state might very well choose to save a million by going with what I’ll call your basic less-than-trustworthy big-ass groin. Such an old-template groin would still require stone layering and, likely, steel sheet buttressing. Gone would be that angler-friendly end section, as would the ability to readily remove predetermined stones to promote sand passage, should erosional forces get carried away -- and begin carrying away the refuge area. 

ANY DAY NOW: I should probably have mentioned this way earlier but an appeal has been made to the state begging for a Holgate "emergency action." It is currently in Trenton. It is a request for the deployment of highly-suspect (to me) geotextile bags. You likely know the routine: Fill large geotextile bags to the gills with sand, then stack them up like a wall, against the evil forces of erosion. It's as outdated as circling wagons. But, if that's the only form of reinforcements being sent from Trenton, Long Beach Township will gladly accept such a Band-Aid fix! Truth be told, we’ll more than likely be seeing this dubious stop-gap measure in place, maybe by this fall, especially if the the terminal groin matter remains in limbo.

Image result for geotextiles against ocean erosion new jersey


Capt. Alex

Strike while the iron is hot, so they say. Having just guided my wife and a friend to second and first place in a recent women’s fluke tournament, respectively, I tossed my hat into the JCAA fluke tournament this past Saturday. After making bait in the early sun rise hour we headed for the lighthouse are to fish the end of the tide.  We got into a nice bite of keeper fluke but the bigger ones kept getting off. It really hurts when you lose a true doormat and there is well over $1,000 on the line, literally if you know what I’m talking about. After that we took a break a regrouped for the afternoon cooler water incoming. With the bay holding in the low 80’s outgoing tide is not the best time to fish right now. But if that is only when you can fish, you fish.  With some fresh live bait in the livewell round two started slow. But around 4 PM I felt the telltale sign of a nice fluke pouncing the live bait in about 20 feet of water.  The hookset was typical of a flukezilla, you feel like you are stuck at first but once you free the fluke from being suctioned to the bottom you get some head shake then line peeled off your spool. The fish weighed 6.8 lbs and took second place in the JCAA Fluke Tournament for the Barnegat Bay port (pic attached). We also took first in one of the Calcuttas J   Once again live bait does it job. Those that know me or have fished with me know I am a live bait specialist. The way I look at it, artificials are called artificals for a reason they are trying to mimic the real thing. And when the real things are available why fish artificial? That’s the way I fish, plain and simple. 

Monday I did two trips. The first trip with the Fields started around the inlet. Conditions were good but the bite was slow landing a couple 2-4 pound blues. After that we went sharking which was unexpectedly slow.  We landed one small brown that came up our slick and took a pitched bait and got bit off. Cool stuff. Quite a few schools of bunker around the tires and a few miles in from of the inlet which was nice to see as they have been absent most of the summer after being sucked up by the bunker boats that came up from the south. I hate those boats and it kills me that there is no peer reviewed research supporting the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids. So we are totally messing up the food chain to make something that probably does not work but puts money in the pockets of a select few. Mind blown on that one! Ok, off my soap box. Monday afternoon trip was with father and son, Joe and Joseph Astraukas. We started off fluking and the bite was hot. As what has happened in prior years the bottom around the inlet is paved with fluke. Mostly shorts, but I already let you know how to catch keepers so I’m  not going there now. Joseph, 6, in attached picture catch at least a dozen shorts in about 2 hours of fishing. After fluking we hit the inlet to catch the cooler incoming water. There, Joe the father, managed a schoolie bass and some blues on BKDs giving him a Barnegat Bay Slam. I think I have had the most slams this summer thanks the healthy population of schoolie bass.


On the nature side of things: moo over Rover and let the cow-nose rays take over. The abundance of cow-nose rays over the last few year brings up a lot of questions like: why are they here; why are there so many, etc. to answer why they are here it is due to climate change and the average ocean temperature getting warmer. As the waters warm out front, look for new species to arrive taking Mother Nature’s cue that you can now survive in waters north of your historical range. I looked up cow-nose ray inFishes of Chesapeake Bay which was first published in 1928. This book is kind of like the Bible to Middle Atlantic States ichthyologists (people that study fish). I purchased my copy when I was in high school. Guess I was a nerd or something hehehe What the book has to say about cow-nosed rays is “This ray was not seen during the present investigations, and although previously recorded from Chesapeake Bay it is evidently rare. So there you have it, we now have cow-nosed rays because the water is warmer. 

Screaming drags

Capt. Alex



It starts out the size of a poppy seed and sucks blood until it’s peas-sized. Say “Hey” to the newest invasive tick to America … and it's already on the NJ block. It’s the Asian longhorned tick -- which, by name alone, seems more suited to Texas. Nope, our little ole Garden State is apparently the first site to entertain it. Per Livescience. Com, “The newfound tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis, was first identified in the U.S. last year, when it was found on a sheep in New Jersey, according to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.” How it got here is now in the hands of backtracking experts, who will likely go batty trying to focus on the insane amount of stuff now being imported here from the Orient.

As with any invasive thing, it’ll take some time -- and doctor reports -- to ascertain if this suckacious newbie will be the bearer of ill tidings. In other parts of the world where it crawls, it is known to harbor bad-ass pathogens, like those related to babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, theileriosis and rickettsiosis, as well as certain viral diseases, according to the USDA.

I’ll play an entomological epidemiologist by assuring that the new eight-legged arrivals will quickly suck blood from NJ bacteria-carrying creatures -- and become yet another bloodsucking disease carrier.

For me and my outbacking, this Asian intruder hits too close to home. I can feel them poppyseeding up my leg, sniffing out a vein. My oft-tested immunity system is already all, “You can’t be serious, dude!”

Like many an invasive species, this tick will likely find unhampered, low-predation life here something to crazily egg about – even for a loner tick. When no male longhorned ticks are in play, a blood-filled female H. longicornis can reproduce all by her lonesome, relying on a self-impregnating/parthenogenesic process. And eggs will fly forth. A single female can lay around 2,000 eggs, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. “That's enough to establish a tick population in a new location,” per the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

When might the longhorned tick be a-crawl in our already highly tickish nape of the outdoors? Sooner than later. In fact, I’m already on an expedited research mission to learn the exact microscopic look of these little buggers. Through years of microscopically ID’ing bugs in amber, I’ve developed enough of an eye to pick out unique characteristics that set longhorned ticks apart from, let’s see, there’s the ...

Deer tick, aka blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis),

Image result for blacklegged tick

Brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus),

Gulf Coast tick (Amblyomma maculatum),

Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum),

Related image

Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni)

Image result for rocky mountain wood tick

And the Western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus)

… just to name the known North American bloodsuckers. By the by, even though a couple of the above ticks are out of our area, they can arrive seemingly overnight. I don't trust any of them. 

I’ll also be tuned into the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases website to follow any  disease propensities of the longhorned tick.

As you might have guessed, whatever repellents and insecticides that work on other brands of ticks should do a preventive number on the new species crawling up your leg there.


NMFS Notifies Regional Council of Nine Species Listed as Overfished or Subject to Overfishing


SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] by Susan Chambers - August 7, 2018

The National Marine Fisheries Service notified regional Councils recently than nine stocks around the country are overfished or subject to overfishing. Of those, five are salmon stocks on the West Coast.

The Klamath River fall Chinook, Queets coho, Juan de Fuca coho, Snohomish coho and Sacramento River fall Chinook have been listed as overfished. Upper Columbia River summer Chinook is listed as being subject to overfishing. In other regions, thorny skate and the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico stock of sandbar shark remain overfished. The Gulf of Maine/Cape Hatteras Atlantic mackerel stock is listed is overfished and also subject to overfishing.

The listing of the salmon stocks is no surprise. Unusually warm ocean waters in recent years -- thank The Blob -- had detrimental effects on many salmon stocks, particularly coho runs. In-river environmental changes and ongoing draught also affected stocks, especially the commercially valuable Sacramento and Klamath rivers fall Chinook runs.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council has already directed its Salmon Technical Team to develop rebuilding plans for each of the overfished stocks for the Council's consideration. However, only two, the Klamath and Sacramento Chinook stocks, are completely under the Council's purview. The other four are also managed via international agreements, so there is Council has limited ability to control ocean fisheries in waters outside its jurisdiction, NMFS said in a notice.

The thorny skate determination was made based on a 2017 stock assessment that used data through 2016. NMFS continues to work with the New England Fishery Management Council to implement conservation and management measures to rebuild thorny skate. Thorny skate is the only one of seven managed in the Northeast skate complex that is still overfished. The New England Council, NMFS and industry have successfully rebuilt three other species in the complex during the last 15 years.

The sandbar shark listing is based on a 2018 stock assessment that used data through 2015. It is managed under the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan.

NMFS said the data on which the Gulf of Maine/Cape Hatteras Atlantic mackerel overfished/subject to overfishing status was made using a 2018 benchmark assessment that included data through 2016. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council must now adopt measures to end overfishing and approve a rebuilding plan, the NMFS notice said. The MAFMC has already been working on the issue and intends to address rebuilding the stock through a framework action to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan, including modifications to the 2019-21 harvest specifications. The Council in June received an update on proposals to rebuilding Atlantic mackerel in 3, 5, or 7 years and is scheduled to take final action on a rebuilding plan when it meets in Virginia Beach, Virginia, next week.

Photo Credit: USFWS Midwest Region/ Flickr



(18/P69) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection has high hopes for steps taken this year to improve the survival chances for New Jersey's last remaining wild population of American chaffseed, a flowering perennial herb with highly specialized habitat needs. The species' last stronghold is in a state forest in the Pinelands of Burlington County.

"Working with the help of volunteers, the DEP has implemented habitat management techniques that are showing signs of promise, giving this extremely rare and uniquely beautiful plant a chance at survival," said Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. "This effort demonstrates just how important it is to manage our wild lands to ensure continued ecological diversity."

To restore the habitat at the Burlington County location, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service in late winter conducted a prescribed burn, then the New Jersey Forest Service thinned the surrounding trees to increase sunlight. Volunteers from the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and Pinelands Preservation Alliance also manually cut back competing shrubs. Duke Farms in Hillsborough also contributed by propagating at its site plants from seed collected at the wild population. The New Jersey State Forest Nursery in Jackson has been working to propagate plants to aid in re-establishing this rare species.

The project is being overseen by the DEP's Office of Natural Lands Management. The Burlington County site has more than 80 American chaffseed plants.

"The results of our efforts have been very encouraging," said New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry Director Olivia Glenn. "This year, the total number of American chaffseed flowers at the Burlington County site is double that of recent years, with the number of stems up 65 percent from last year. All of this points to an increase in the overall number of plants next year."

Resembling a snapdragon, American chaffseed (Schwalbea americana) needs open meadows with sandy and acidic soil as well as nearby wetlands. Seeds of American chaffseed also require contact with the roots of a host plant to germinate. Known host plants in New Jersey include Maryland golden aster, inkberry and dwarf huckleberry.

The American chaffseed is listed as endangered by the state as well as the federal government. The biggest threats to American chaffseed across its range include development, mowing and suppression of wildfires that are needed to remove competing understory vegetation.

At one time, the species was found in 16 states from Massachusetts to Louisiana, and as far west as Kentucky and Tennessee. Today its range has diminished to spotty populations in eight states along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts.

"The species was once found at 18 locations in New Jersey, all in or near the Pinelands," said Office of Natural Lands Management Administrator Bob Cartica. "The population of American chaffseed at its last refuge in Burlington County had been experiencing declines for more than a decade, its open-field habitat succumbing to other trees and shrubs that were outcompeting the American chaffseed."

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service provided expertise in managing the controlled burn at the site that was essential for restoring the habitat to a grassland-type ecosystem. The Forest Fire Service annually conducts extensive prescribed burning operations that reduce the risk of massive wildfires that could threaten lives and property while keeping ecosystems healthier. Many of these operations are focused on the Pinelands.

"With more than a third of New Jersey's native flora considered rare or at risk of disappearing from the state, it is imperative that we continue developing ways to keep plants such as the American chaffseed as part of our natural landscapes," said New Jersey State Forester John Sacco. "Developing these techniques and implementing managed burns to imitate natural processes is a high priority of the New Jersey Forest Service."

For more information on American chaffseed, visit

For a report on the status and trends of endangered plants in New Jersey, visit www.nj.gov/dep/dsr/trends/pdfs/endangered-plant.pdf

For more information on the Division of Parks and Forestry, visit

Follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP

Image result for american chaffseed


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